News 08.25.10

New Report: Prosecutorial Misconduct and Wrongful Convictions

Prosecutorial misconduct is a leading cause of wrongful conviction, and

a new Innocence Project report

released today provides evidence that appeals courts in the U.S. do not effectively identify and overturn these injustices.

Although countless instances of misconduct never come to light, the Innocence Project review found that 65 of the first 255 DNA exonerees raised allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in their appeals or in civil suits filed after exoneration. In about half of those cases, courts found either error or misconduct by prosecutors, but judges only found “harmful error” – enough to overturn a conviction – in 12 cases.

The rate of harmful error findings (18%) in wrongful conviction cases is nearly identical to the rate found in a much broader universe of cases examined in

a 2003 study by the Center for Public Integrity

. These cases weren’t innocence cases (meaning they hadn’t been overturned based on evidence of innocence), but the courts found harmful error by prosecutors in 17.6% of cases.

Based on this result, the new Innocence Project report finds that “innocent persons raising claims of misconduct on appeal are not much more likely to find relief than presumed guilty persons raising similar claims—a suggestion that raises questions about the ability of the appellate process to correct wrongful convictions.” Among the findings in the new Innocence Project report are:

• Sixty-five of the first 255 DNA exoneration cases involved appeals and/or civil lawsuits alleging prosecutorial misconduct.

• In nearly half of those 65 cases, courts found prosecutorial misconduct or error.

• In 18% of the prosecutorial misconduct claims in wrongful conviction cases, courts overturned convictions or found harmful error – a rate nearly identical to harmful error findings in a larger study of misconduct allegations, including thousands of cases where defendants did not claim innocence.

• Improper argument at trial and withheld evidence of innocence were the forms of misconduct alleged most commonly by wrongfully convicted defendants.


Read the full report here

. (PDF)

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  1. Kenneth Tennant says:

    Scott County Iowa DA MIKE WALTON PROSECUTED IN THE FACE OF EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE (STATE v GREGORY TENNANT, NTA…).
    “Trial judge” MARK RAY LAWSON effectively withheld from trial witnesses and exculpatory evidence by quashing subpoenas.
    STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, DEREK GORDON JONES proved to be incompetent, dishonest, and ineffective.
    Iowa State BAR associate Thomas Hurd was then appointed as Appellate Counsel. Hurd ignored the elephant Hurd in the room, raising only one issue: the inadvertant violation of the right to a speedy trial. Hurd neglected to raise standard appellate issues, ineffective assistance of counsel and ignored the Withholding exculpatory evidence and other Constitutional Violations that had been raised pro se in the Supplemental appeal brief, 17-0648.
    Iowa BAR Associate TOM J MILLER, Attorney General, Defrauded Taxpayers of Honest Government Services by taking three extensions of time only to conceal and cover up the MALFEASANCE, fraud and misconduct by his BAR Associates.
    Iowa Court of Appeals “judges” Christopher McDonald, Mary Tabor, other, Refused and neglected to Render the REQUIRED FINDINGS OF FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW on the issues raised.
    The IOWA STATE BAR, DBA IOWA SUPREME COURT Denied Further Review, further defrauding taxpayers of honest government services and causing harm to an innocent young man, scarring him for life.
    For Exposing the fraud, Walton and IOWA STATE BAR, used a tactic from Saul Alinsky’s RULES FOR RADICALS, fabricating a charge of JURY TAMPERING against me, Greg’s father and Whistle-Blower: “Accuse the Whistle-Blower of what you are doing, to create confusion and inculcate JURISTS against evidence of your own guilt.”
    These BAR associates TAMPERED with the JURY by planting IOWA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE TOM WATERMAN’S corporate board member TATE FEATHERSTONE in Greg’s jury. I had no attorney and no peer in my jury. Ada ROBERT CUSACK tampered with evidence, had no witness with direct knowledge of fact or evidence…Sheriff deputy Tim Ells proved to be incompetent and dishonest and lacked Standing. “Trial judge” Paul MACEK refused to Rule on my Motion to Dismiss for Ells’ lack of Standing. MACEK vacated the bench after the “trial” despite having four years remaining on his term. WHY ??? Again, TOM MILKER took another three extensions of time on appeal 17-1333…and the same systemic fraud continues all the way up to the Chief “judge” Jarvey, 8th Cir. CT. Appls. Who opined that Federal Courts lack jurisdiction over Constitutional Violations and Fraud by STATE COURTS (19-3404).
    MSM is too busy pushing the COVID HOAX when the Real Epidemic is the Judicial Fraud and the Global Paedophile Elites like Jeffrey Epstein.

  2. Dennis Bendy says:

    I have 2 sons in prison falsely. In Tyler Tx. Smith County. 1 for a murder in which DNA experts testified in his trial that he was excluded from having the gun involved in the shooting. There was 3 other people DNA on it ,but his was not. Yet he was sentenced to life in prison. My oldest son was sentenced to 40yrs in prison in which he did plea guilty to an enhancement to his original charge.EIOC engaging in organized crime which carries a sentence of 5 to 99 a 1st degree felony. The underlying charge was dropped for his plea of guilt. Which was aggregated assault with a deadly weapon. Which is a second degree felony 2 to 20, but by advice of his attorney he pled to the enhanced charge. This ineffective counsel. You never plea to a higher charge when there is a lesser charge. Not knowing, and being afraid of prison cause you to plea to tha . The lawyer should have never allowed that to happen especially since I paid him. My son that’s facing life the main character that they were allegedly there to kill told the DA’S office that he knew who was shooting at him ,and that it was not my son , but he never was called to the witness stand. Neither by prosecution nor my son’s lawyer. Who also knew . He tried to give my son’s lawyer a written affidavit as to my son’s innocence, but his lawyer never attempted to obtain the affidavit nor did he call him to the witness stand.

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